Kate Raphael on Bradley Manning and the future of Pride
KPFA Evening News, 05.11.2013
KPFA Evening News Anchor Cameron Jones: San Francisco’s Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club has announced that its Tuesday, May 14, Political Action Committee meeting will be a public forum titled “Bradley Manning: Grand Marshal, Not Court Martial!.” The Milk Club Board protested the San Francisco Pride Board's rejection of U.S. military whistleblower Bradley Manning as an Honorary Grand Marshal of this year’s annual Gay Pride Parade in an official statement that it “fervently supports Bradley Manning's act of conscience and ongoing struggle for basic fundamental rights." KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Kate Raphael, anti-war and human rights activist, Milk Club member, and host of KPFA’s Women’s Magazine, who was an elected San Francisco Pride Grand Marshal in 2004.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Kate Raphael, could you tell us about your election as a Grand Marshal of the 2004 San Francisco Pride Parade?
Kate Raphael: Well, I had been living in Palestine for about six months and at the end of that time I was arrested at a demonstration against the apartheid wall in Budrus village and I was held in jail for a little over a week, and then I was released, but I had to leave the country. I was required to leave the country within two weeks. So I left, and then I went on a delegation to Iraq - that was in February of 2004 - and then came back to the Bay Area. And that had been a fairly big news event when I was arrested, and in jail. There had been a demonstration at the Israeli Consulate . . . FREE KATE . . . and I was a member of Q.U.I.T., which is Queers Underrmining Israeli Terrorism, still am. . . and so, when I came back, Joey Cain, who was at that time the president of the Pride Committee Board, asked me, "Do you wanta be nominated for Grand Marshal?'
And I was like. . . 'oh God, I never thought of myself as Grand Marshal material.' It sounds very military to me, and I'm always getting in trouble with parade marshals and demonstration marshals who are always telling me to stand inside the line and everything. But I also understood that this was a way to bring the issue, the work that I had done in Palestine, and the fact that queers especially in this area were really one of the most consistent groups organizing in solidarity with Palestine - that it was a way of honoring that work and of giving a platform for talking about that work, so I said, "Sure." And the other reason that I said "Sure," was because I was sure that I wouldn't win, so I thought, 'well, there was no problem about being expected to be a standard bearer for a parade that I had frankly been very critical of over the last years.' I mean, just in 1999, some friends and I had done a crash the parade campaign, where we advocated that people break into the parade because the increasing use of barriers was making it just a corporate celebration.
But, Joey Cain, who nominated me and also nominated Bradley Manning, was the president, at the time, of the Pride Committee. So this idea that people might have that for a long time, Pride has only been a voice for corporate and mainstream politics, that's not accurate.
KPFA: Did you sign on to David Waggoner's complaint to the Human Rights Commission, which charges that this is discrimination on the basis of creed because Bradley Manning and those who nominated him are being discriminated against because of their moral conviction?
Kate Raphael: Y'know I haven't seen that complaint. There's a lot of people working on this issue from a lotta directions and we're not all in touch with each other, so I haven't seen that complaint, but I most certainly would sign onto it.
KPFA: And that was Kate Raphael, of Q.U.I.T., Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, and KPFA Womens’ Magazine. Kate actually served, as she describes it, as a 2004 Pride Grand Marshal in absentia, because she was back in Palestine when she learned, much to her surprise, that she had actually been elected. Kate will be attending the Milk Club’s public forum, “Bradley Manning: Grand Martial, not Court Martial,” at the LGBT Center in San Francisco, beginning at 7 pm on Tuesday evening.